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Benítez wary of Chelsea complacency against Basel

Published: Wednesday 1 May 2013, 20.35CET
"My concern is we already think we are in the final," said Chelsea FC's Rafael Benítez, whose team defend a 2-1 first-leg lead against an FC Basel 1893 side hoping for a "small miracle".
by Jamie Reid
from London
Benítez wary of Chelsea complacency against Basel
Chelsea manager Rafael Benítez is all smiles in the pre-match press conference ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

ChelseaBasel

Goals scored17
 
18
Attempts on target58
 
73
Attempts off target55
 
72
Corners52
 
69
Offsides19
 
49
Fouls committed88
 
207
Yellow cards15
 
37
Red Cards0
3

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Published: Wednesday 1 May 2013, 20.35CET

Benítez wary of Chelsea complacency against Basel

"My concern is we already think we are in the final," said Chelsea FC's Rafael Benítez, whose team defend a 2-1 first-leg lead against an FC Basel 1893 side hoping for a "small miracle".

Impressed by how FC Basel 1893 performed on their last trip to London, Rafael Benítez has warned his Chelsea FC players not to be distracted by thoughts of a second European showpiece in 12 months when they host the Swiss side in the second leg of their semi-final.

The Blues' 2-1 victory at St. Jakob-Park last week, secured by David Luiz's late free-kick, and the fact their opponents have not won on the road in the UEFA Europa League this term, mean Chelsea are odds-on to qualify for another final.

However, the way Basel played across town at Tottenham Hotspur FC in the quarter-finals – racing into a two-goal lead inside 34 minutes before being pegged back to 2-2 – has provided Benítez with reason enough to believe the tie is far from a done deal for Chelsea, victorious on penalties against FC Bayern München in the UEFA Champions League final last May.

"They will come trying to score," he said. "They did it against Tottenham, so we are sure they will be offensive and they will push. We saw that in the second half [last week] and that will be more or less the same approach. They will try to score because that's the only way for them to qualify."

Benítez's chief worry, though, is complacency. "My concern is that we already think we are in the final," said the 53-year-old, who guided Valencia CF to UEFA Cup glory in 2004. "We are playing against a very good team that is dangerous and scores a lot of goals away from home.

"Everybody has to realise that it will be tough, it will be difficult. Hopefully I will be wrong and we can produce a great game and score a lot of goals, but first of all we have to win and then afterwards we can think about the final."

Murat Yakin, Benítez's opposite number, is drawing encouragement from Basel's visit to the English capital four weeks ago. "Chelsea are strong in defence and attack, we know that, but my team also have very good qualities – we showed what we are capable of against Tottenham," said the former Switzerland defender, who will wait until Thursday to decide whether or not injured captain Marco Streller can feature.

Though Sunday's 3-0 Super League home defeat by FC Luzern does not augur well for a fixture against the European champions, Yakin has promised to "do everything" to ensure Basel have the best chance possible of reaching their first continental final, adding: "We will be brave, we'll play with confidence and, who knows, maybe we can achieve a small miracle."

Last updated: 02/05/13 23.21CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuropaleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000360/match=2010094/prematch/preview/index.html#benitez+wary+complacency

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